Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.567601
Title: Work process knowledge in Scottish visitor attractions
Author: Marr, Shuna A.
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
Work process knowledge (WPK) is a concept for systems-level knowledge of the workplace and has been shown to be most important in organisations requiring multi-functional working. Most of the previous body of knowledge on WPK has focussed mainly on manufacturing industries; there has been less investigation of WPK in the service sector and none in the visitor attraction (VA) industry, an important employer in Scotland. The VA industry is extremely dynamic and many businesses are rapidly moving towards multi-functional team working, driven by an urgent need to develop quality, customer-focussed strategies to survive in an over-supplied and very competitive market. This study identifies the nature of WPK in Scottish VAs, what relationship WPK has to customer service, how WPK in this service sector differs from selected published studies in manufacturing and other service sector contexts and what factors affect the development of WPK in VAs. Following recruitment of a number of VAs using an online questionnaire and subsequent site visits, six sites were selected for case study, on the basis that they demonstrated most evidence of multi-functional working and staff with developed WPK. The research design was comparative case studies of the work processes and knowledge within these six VAs, based on a social constructivist framework, using the methods of key informant interviews and shadowing. Although these six sites represent a cross-spread of attractions in terms of types, location and size, they nonetheless show strong similarities in their basic business structure. The data show that WPK is an essential element of workers’ roles and a vital requirement in providing good customer service. Although VA managers do not use the term ‘work process knowledge’, they nonetheless recognise the importance of having staff with a wider view of their business and are actively encouraging its rapid development. Multi-functionality and job rotation are main ways of developing WPK but sites also use key workers with job roles that help develop high levels of WPK, who are then used as a staff resource. The main factor contributing to the development of WPK is communication, especially of systems-level information. Cultural information-sharing is an essential pre-condition for the development of WPK in this context. Other determining factors are flexibility, employee biographies, seasonality issues, how weddings and functions are handled on-site and the size and complexity of the site. WPK is the foundation on which good customer service is based and elements of it deliver customer service. It is the closely integrated nature of the employee-customer relationship that has such a profound effect on WPK development in this service sector industry and is essentially what differentiates it from previously published studies. The identification of the customer as a hitherto unrecognised key driver of WPK is the most important contribution to knowledge made by this work.
Supervisor: Boreham, Nicholas Charles; Canning, Roy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.567601  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Work Process Knowledge ; Visitor Attractions ; Scottish ; Vocational Education ; Industry ; Tourism ; Tourist ; Work ; Knowledge ; Scotland ; Customer ; Service ; Multi-functional ; Team working ; Communication ; Flexibility ; Case Study ; Social Constructivism ; Job Rotation ; Systems ; Information ; Seasonality ; Attitude ; Culture ; Key informant interviews ; Shadowing ; Cross-functional teams ; Leisure industry Scotland ; Employees Training of
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